Here’s a neat little trick to add realistic background objects to your footage in Adobe After Effects. In this case, I wanted it to seem like the footage was taken in the lobby of the client’s office. This could work for things like posters, hanging artwork, or logo plaques. Check it out.
Cinemagraphs are little looping animated videos that are actually pretty simple to make, especially if there isn’t any movement in the scene.
In this quick tutorial, we’re going to add a video on a polaroid in about 10 minutes using Adobe After Effects. I’ve provided the source files to get you started.
Ok, so let’s get to it. First I took a picture of a Polaroid of my wife and I. I know, I know, we’re cute.
Next, I found the video that I wanted to use as the looping video on the Polaroid. I used a night timelapse that I shot last year of the Austin 360 bridge. Finding a reason to recycle old footage is always fun.
Next, import both of them into After Effects and make a new comp with the Polaroid image. You can do this by dragging the Polaroid image onto the “new comp” icon in the project window.
Next, with the pen tool, carefully draw a mask around the picture on the Polaroid. Add a slight feather of 10 to the mask. And expand the mask a bit with the “mask expansion” parameter.
Next, add your video under the Polaroid image layer and make the video layer 3D. The reason we do this, is so we can rotate it to match the angle of the Polaroid. Scale the video down and rotate it so it fits in the Polaroid. Notice how the guide box roughly matches the edge of the Polaroid.
Next, let’s add some depth of field and blur the edges so they look out of focus. You could do a couple things to achieve this. The way we’re going to do it is by adding a camera to the comp and use the built in “Depth Of Field” parameter on the camera.
So, create a new camera by going to “layer/new/camera” (option, command, C). You can use the 80mm preset since that matches the focal length that the actual image was taken.
Now, we need to enable “Depth Of Field” and set the focus distance to the timelapse layer. Twirl down your camera options in your timeline, or press AA to show them. And enable “Depth Of Field.”
Now, to automatically set your focus distance to your timelapse layer, we need to select both our camera and our timelapse layer, then go to “Layer/Camera/Set Focus Distnace to Layer.” Make sure both your camera and the timelapse layers are selected. You can select multiple layers by holding command.
Nice. Now, let’s adjust our depth of field to match our shot. By bringing up the “Aperture,” it will make the focus plane narrower. And by bringing up the “Blur Level,” it will increase the blur of everything that’s not in focus. Play around with these two parameters until it matches. I landed on Aperture: 960 pixels and Blur Level: 250%.
Now we’re rocking. To add some final touches, I added a “Vintage FX” preset to bring it all together. A GIF isn’t a real GIF without a vintage filter. I added this to an adjustment layer so it affects both the Polaroid picture and the timelapse video. You may have to brighten up the timelapse footage so you don’t loose too much detail in those shadows.
GIF’s are better when they’re short and when they loop seamlessly. Let’s make it 3 seconds long. And let’s adjust our timelapse video so it loops seamlessly at 3 seconds. Basically, split your timelapse layer at 1.5 seconds by going to “edit/split layer” (command, shift, D). Then drag your beginning layer to start at 1.5 seconds. Drag the other layer to start at the beginning. Then fade the top layer out so it fades into the bottom layer. And set your work area so it’s only 3 seconds long.
Boom! Now export it and convert it into a GIF. The easiest way (that I’ve found so far) is to use an online tool called “GIPHY.” But, you’re only limited to a few seconds and the converted GIF’s are tiny. If that’s ok with you, then great, use GIPHY! If you want more control, you can use Photoshop’s “save for web” tool. It’s kind of finicky, but it works.
That’s it! You just made a cinemagraph. Now make sure to show your friends and tell them you found a magic Polaroid from the Harry Potter world. I’m sure they’ll totally believe you. If you have any questions or maybe additional tips that would make this better, post them below.
In this quick video tutorial, I show how to add atmosphere in Adobe Lightroom. This is a technique that I often use when adjusting photos taken with backlighting from the sun. I do this by using the graduated filter tool in Adobe Lightroom. This little tool is powerful for adding a splash of style to a specific section of an image.
Vignettes are a nice stylized way to color grade a clip. But, unfortunately, there are no pre-installed vignettes inside of Premiere Pro.
You could transfer your clips to After Effects, or use an application like Magic Bullet Looks to add some vignettes, but if you want to create a vignette right inside Premiere Pro, you can use the “circle” effect and tweak the settings.
Simple, a shotgun mic is a microphone that has a directional pick-up pattern. The microphone itself is known as a shotgun microphone, due to the “shotgun” type of polar pattern. They can also have cardioid and super-cardioid polar patterns. They are the most common type of mic on a film or tv set.
A boom mic is any microphone that is at the end of a long, extended pole, also known as a “boom pole.” It doesn’t matter what type of microphone you use, if it’s on an extended pole, it is a boom mic. It is the technique of using the microphone, rather than the microphone itself. A boom pole is used to get the microphone in as close as possible to a subject, without getting in the camera shot. Most boom mics are used with shotgun mics.
In this quick tip, I show you how to use audio in Final Cut Pro 7. The file type needs to be exactly AIFF, 48 Khz, and 16 bit to work natively in FCP. It only takes a few seconds to convert to this format.
If you are experiencing glitches or “pops” in your audio, this is your problem.
Most of the bids on an ebay item happen within the last few minutes. People throw in everything they’ve got at the last minute at an item they’ve been watching for a few days. So, you may be able to snag a few great deals on Christmas day, as most people are spending time with family and not stuck in front of a computer all day. I’m not saying don’t spend time with family, but if you really want to try and get a good deal, step into your office or tinker on your smart phone for a few minutes and see what you can get. Also try to bid during Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve.
The same goes for Super Bowl Sunday. Pretty much EVERYONE in America is completely tuned into the Super Bowl during that time. So hop on the computer and start throwing bids down on those items that are ending soon.
Some other events that might be good to bid during: Victoria’s Secret fashion show, popular network TV shows, Sunday or Monday night football, etc.
In this Final Cut Pro 7 quick tip, I show you how to copy and paste attributes to other clips. I also touch base on the “scale to sequence” command.
In my years of using Final Cut Pro, I’ve stumbled across the question myself, “Do I need to render before I export in Final Cut Pro?”
Short answer: “No.”
Now, I’m not going to get too deep into what rendering is, but rendering is basically FCP’s way of making preview files for you to view. Sometimes, you can’t view heavy effects or mismatched codecs in your sequence in real-time, so FCP creates render files that allow you to view the clip in real-time.
But, FCP does NOT need these render files to export. Yes, if you create render files, it will use them to speed up the export process, but if you do not create them, FCP will do so in the background while it is exporting.
I usually render everything for a final 100% real-time viewing, but there are rare occasions where I have no need for render files. Such as a 30 minute speech that I am not cutting, just simply placing text and graphics over the entire thing. The text and graphics, once placed on top, will show me that a render is needed to view in real-time. But I know I don’t need to watch the entire speech, so no need to waste time and render. Simply export (CMD+E) and everyone’s happy.
Here’s a setting that not many editors know about: “Unlimited RT”
It’s a setting found in the timeline, that forces FCP to play as many frames as possible when your effects exceed the processing power of your computer. Final Cut Pro does this by spending time to process some frames in real time while skipping others completely. It’s not available for all effects and codecs, but if it is available, I always enable it. As opposed to Safe RT, Unlimited RT will change your red render bars to orange, meaning that it will drop frames and quality during these segments to achieve real-time playback.
It’s a pretty cool feature. Depending on your system, you may get a pretty decent 12-15 fps playback. That’s enough to quickly check your effects without rendering. On an old MacBook Pro, playing full 1080p ProRes 422 files, I can only playback about 2-3 fps. So it’s not very usable in that case.
DSLR’s are awesome for video. They’re a great way to get great cinematic looks on a budget. They pack alot of power in a small package. These are cameras that we, as consumers, can purchase on our own, yet they are powerful enough to make Hollywood movies. The DSLR revolution has brought out tons of new filmmakers that are trying their hand at making some cool stuff. I bet that most of the videos uploaded to Vimeo are shot with a DSLR.
But, like all artforms, there are a few things that make the rookies stand out like sore thumbs. These are 3 simple problems that, as long as you think about them before you shoot, can be easily fixed.
1. Shaky Footage – DSLR’s have a poor center of gravity and they’re small, so they receive every tiny hand shake and amplify it. Seeing shaky, jittery footage usually makes me turn the video off before I get a headache from watching it.
How to solve this: Get some sort of support. I don’t recommend relying solely on a tripod, as you are limited and can’t walk around or get different angles. Monopods are great for keeping your camera steady, especially during long events. Monopods are a godsend when I shoot weddings. You can also invest in some sort of shoulder rig to go mobile, although it may wear you down after a long period of shooting with it.
People always try to cover up jittery footage with a stabilizer effect in post, but it usually looks horrible. So fix the problem in production so you don’t have to deal with it in post.
2. Too Shallow DoF – DSLR’s are awesome in the fact they they give you a super shallow depth of field. Depth of field is the plane that is in focus. The shallower the DoF is, the more blurred out the background will be. Deeper DoF will get more things in focus.
So the shallowest DoF is better, right? Wrong.
Yes, you want some nice DoF, but one the biggest problems that I see around the net, it too shallow DoF. A common mistake for newbies is to simply crank your aperture open all the way, so you get some “nice” bokeh and the burry “film-look.” This is a problem, especially if you are shooting an event, and have to pull focus as your subject constantly moves.
How to solve this: Don’t shoot wide-open. Ever! Well…..very rarely shoot wide-open. On the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, if you have your aperture at 1.4, you’re liable to leave your viewers wondering what it is that they’re watching. If you’re shooting a person’s portrait at f/1.4, the tip of their nose may be in focus, but the bridge of their nose will be blurred out of focus. That’s too shallow. If I’m looking for shallow DoF, I usually tend to shoot at least a half-stop up from wide-open, if the subject is contained and not moving around much. If the subject is walking, I’d go at least a full stop and a half up. Yes, the shallowest DoF may make the background look ridiculously blurry and bokeh-y, but not at the expense of proper focus.
3. Poor Exposure – Another very common mistake by newlyweds to DSLR’s is bad exposure. Especially over exposure. It may look good to you on the tiny 3″ screen, but to the image sensor, it may be completely bown-out. When an image has spots that are too bright, it peaks and has no color information. Trying to color grade footage that is blown-out is a nightmare. So, once again, fix it in production so you don’t have to deal with it in post.
How to solve this: Watch you histogram! Before every shot, yes I said EVERY shot, check your histogram to make sure you are not peaking over the top, or suffering with too much lost at the bottom. This will help you to get proper exposure. Most DSLR’s can access the histogram by pressing the INFO button a couple times to overlay it over your video. But don’t worry, it’ll hide itself once you press record so you can see your subject.
Also, you will benefit greatly with an external monitor to simply show you a bigger picture of what you are shooting. External monitors will not only help with your exposure, but your focus and composition as well.
There are many more steps to becoming a great cinematographer, but these are 3 simple steps that can make your footage better.
In Final Cut Pro 7, the ripple and roll tools are great to quickly adjust edits with a simple drag of the mouse. But, what if you only need 2 or 3 frame rippled out? It’s pretty annoying to have to zoom in, and use the mouse to roll 2 frames to the right, then adjust again if it’s off. Well, there’s an easier way to do this.
Select the edit that you want to adjust either by simply clicking on it, or by pressing V on the keyboard to select the nearest edit.
Decide if you want to roll or ripple. Press U on the keyboard to toggle through roll, head ripple, or tail ripple. You can jump to the next edit with the up or down keys on the keyboard.
Press the bracket keys on the keyboard to shift 1 frame at a time. Left bracket adjusts to the left, and right bracket adjusts to the right. Add shift and it will shift 5 frames at a time.
Another hint: after you make your edit, press backslash on the keyboard right next to the bracket keys, and it will play a preview around your current time indicator. If you loop the playback (control L), it will continually play that preview. While it’s playing, if your edit is still not quite right, you can use the brackets to adjust on the fly while the preview is still playing.